Why did "The Daily Show" choose Trevor Noah to replace Jon Stewart?

In reading this article “Why Are Americans Ignoring Trevor Noah?” I have to also ask why did The Daily Show choose a South African comedian to replace Jon Stewart in a show that is so quintessentially inside baseball US politics oriented?

Noah is well spoken and competent but wouldn’t you want someone who is deeply, deeply knowledgeable about US politics to do this? Is a South African comedian really the direction that you want to go for that job description? Is it really a big surprise that The Daily Show viewership is not finding him all that satisfying?

Honestly? Affirmative action.

If you believe they were looking for an affirmative action hire, then why not hire an African-American comedian? I think he was hired to improve the international appeal of the show and not as an affirmative action hire.

I don’t think the host needs to know squat about American politics to do The Daily Show. The writers do. Noah, as a contributing writer, can add his perspective as an outsider.

Honestly, The Daily Show is so closely identified with the personality of Jon Stewart that I’d be surprised if anyone could fill his shoes. I haven’t watched it in the last few years but I did watch it for many years, even in the beginning with Craig Kilborn, before Stewart took over. In the beginning the show seemed so novel and hilarious, sort of making an entire show based on the Weekend Update of SNL template. The high point was probably when we got to watch Stewart and Colbert back-to-back but that time has passed. The Daily Show was like the flagship of Comedy Central so it’s understandable they want to keep it going, but I feel like maybe it was time to end it and come up with something totally different when Stewart decided to leave. The article also mentioned the head writer left along with Stewart.

Comedy Central was either fantastically perceptive or fantastically lucky when it choose Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert for its shows. I remember when they started and I remember that few people thought that either one would succeed. And that absolutely nobody predicted what they would become by the time they left.

The Slate writer, Willa Paskin, does eventually get around to the admission that she’s comparing Noah in his early days to Stewart at his end apotheosis, about 18 paragraphs too late. First years of shows almost never are revealing. The Daily Show started in 1999 and it didn’t get its stride until well into the 2000 election cycle. Yeah, that was a different time and nobody is patient today. Larry Wilmore was terrible four months into his first year. Despite what Willa Paskin says, his show is still only occasionally good.

It may be that nobody could have followed Jon Stewart. Keeping the format identical was probably a mistake. To be honest, I like a lot of what Noah does, but you may be right that a U.S. political insider would be better. But who? How many better candidates were there? We saw a million names and not one of them was another Jon Stewart.

Neither Noah nor Wilmore are being helped much by their correspondents either. TDS started with Colbert and Steve Carell and soon got John Oliver and part-timers like Lewis Black and Kristen Schall and John Hodgman. None of the newer ones are at their level; something we’ve complained about here since long before Stewart left.

Jay Leno wasn’t Johnny Carson and Stephen Colbert is now finding out that he isn’t David Letterman. Whether they became or will become good is pretty much besides the point. TDS probably should have ended when Stewart left. Nobody will ever be happy with it again.

Noah is OK, but I think Comedy Central missed the boat by passing up Samantha Bee. Especially since she’s moving to TBS and is essentially making her own Daily Show… except its weekly.

He’s doing a fine job. I don’t see what the problem is.

I can’t watch it. Not sure why. I loved Stewart and John Oliver. But just not a fan of Trevor. He seems likable enough, but his delivery is off

You don’t state your alternatives?

I like Trevor Noah but am not thrilled with his correspondents. I agree that it could take him 2-3 years to really find his voice and the right group of writers, and I think that will only happen if they let him exercise some creative control. If he has little or no creative control, I don’t think the show will last long enough for Noah & his team to gel.

Heh, no, the Daily Show isn’t going anywhere. It’s a deeply entrenched Comedy Central brand that’s been running since 1996. Not that it or any show is completely immune from the threat of cancellation, but they’d take various steps well before that ever happened including but not limited to pay cuts for the cast and crew (of which they had a big built-in one when Stewart retired, since I’m sure whatever Noah gets for a starting salary is a tiny fraction of what Stewart was making when he left) and if necessary, running it at a loss temporarily until they can make it profitable again even if that means another new host.

Isn’t this a show that mainly deals with US news and current affairs, and US media coverage of those?

I’m not sure that the nationality of the host is the main barrier to international appeal.

Nobody else wanted the job. I heard a podcast where one of the writers talked about the search for a replacement. They approached several ‘big names’ and were really determined to get Chris Rock. No one wanted to be locked in to the grind of daily TV.

Of course, the writer framed it as Trevor being a unique, fascinating outside-of-the-box solution. But there were a lot of rejections before the job made its way to him.

I kind of agree with this, but it is clear that the punches he is landing don’t have the same impact as Stewart. Trevor Noah lacks the gravitas that was at the heart of what Stewart earned over the years. Can Noah get that? Not sure; takes time. I would think that an election like this will give Noah a few opportunities to bust out with a defining moment. Let’s see what happens.

ETA: the biggest challenges are that Stewart’s recipe is now all over the place, by his disciples and other folks. Oliver and Colbert (and even Steve Carell’s righteous anger in The Big Short) all reflect Stewart in their approach. Noah has to build his own in a now-very-crowded field.

I think Sam Bee has a chance to do well - but it is good she has her own, weekly show. Given the ads, it appears she is going to push on a few man-gaze tropes. She may look to be a Voice for Women the way that Larry Wilmore has been embracing a role a voice of minorities/Blacks/disenfranchised groups.

I haven’t seen the show in months since CC stopped rerunning it during the dinner hour. I can’t stay up to watch its initial broadcast, since I get up at 4:45 for work, and the rerun in the middle of the morning doesn’t do me any good. I don’t like streaming on my computer - it’s just not the same as plopping down on the couch.

I like Trevor and I can see him establishing himself just fine as he finds his stride. I think Larry Wilmore has improved, but I do find some of his topics/guests/commentaries pretty heavy-handed sometimes. I understand I can’t know what it’s like to be a person of color in the US and I know there are serious issues, but I’m pretty sure I’m not just experiencing personal discomfort. But I do like Mike Yard and Rory Albanese, and I can take Ricky Velez in small doses. But again, I don’t watch any more. I would if they’d rerun in the evenings again.

I DVR it and watch TDS and the Nightly Show the next day. Agree with your take on Larry Wilmore: finding his stride, which includes sometimes hitting a few points in a pretty in-your-face way.

Just because of scheduling I was never a daily Daily Show watcher but I did like Jon Stewart. I frequently disagreed with his conclusions but he approached each topic with honesty. Even at the expense of jokes he would explain the situation fully. Early on I saw Noah do a story that I was very familiar with and they edited the news clip to completely misrepresent the topic. I never saw Stewart do that. At that moment I was completely done with the show. No I don’t remember the story now.

I feel the same way. Like this isn’t a good venue for him.

I do remember it took a little while for Jon Stewart to make TDS his own, so there might be hope. Meantime, I’m watching John Oliver’s show on HBO. :smiley:

I think he’s doing a good job. Very few people could filll Stewart’s shoes. It’s kinda cool to get an African’s perspective on US politics.